PCC TRiO Programs Celebrate ‘National TRiO Day’

TRiO staff presenting a check to student Deanna Lee Baker, who received the TRiO Scholarship.

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College TRiO programs celebrated “National TRiO Day” on campus with a Feb. 28 ceremony that featured the presentation of several special awards to students who’ve demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and community involvement.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, TRiO is a group of educational opportunity outreach programs that help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in higher education. The initiative has played an active role at Pitt since 2005, with the college offering a Student Support Services (SSS) program aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates and an Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) to help adults from disadvantaged backgrounds enroll in higher education.

“Our goal in TRIO Programs is to develop innovative and inclusive strategies to educate and empower people for success,” said Dr. Travis Kinsey, director of PCC TRiO programs. “‘National TRiO Day’ is one of the many opportunities we have to make an impact on the college experience of first-generation students.”

Kinsey said that during PCC’s “National TRiO Day” celebration, which took place in the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement’s Chris Smith Multipurpose Room, the program presented the TRIO: EOC Scholar Award to student Maria J. Acosta Turcios and the TRIO: SSS Scholar Award to Armoni Ebison. PCC TRiO staff nominated both award recipients in recognition of their classroom achievements, clear commitment to educational and career goals, and participation in TRiO services, which include tutoring, campus visits, and leadership development activities.

“The TRIO Scholar Award is a valuable recognition that can open doors for recipients, providing them with opportunities for further academic and professional development,” Kinsey said. “It is a testament to their hard work, determination, and resilience in the face of challenges.”

Kinsey said Deanna Lee Baker was announced as this year’s TRiO Scholarship winner and received $1,000 through the award to help with the cost of educational expenses. A Human Services Technology major, Baker is a military veteran and member of PCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter. She also coaches recreational volleyball and volunteers with Camp Needles in Blounts Creek, where she mentors young children about diabetes.

“National TRiO Day” dates back to the mid-1980s, when Congress passed the Gramm-Rudman Hollings Deficit Reduction Act that reduced funding for TRiO and every other program in the federal budget. In response, TRiO leaders asked federal legislators to declare Feb. 28 “National TRiO Day” to raise awareness of the program’s importance, recognize the accomplishments of students who have benefited from its services, and advocate for continued support and funding for TRiO programs.